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Accessing the public test realm

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Here is a full and complete step-by-step set of instructions for copying characters, downloading/installing the public test realm, running the PTR, patching and reinstalling the PTR, and getting on the public test realm and TTR. This guide is written for a beginner-level audience, but expects basic knowledge of using a web browser and getting around the filesystem.

The most common errors posted on the PTR forum are caused by people not following the bolded instructions. Make sure to follow them!

Copying a character to the PTR is no longer a necessity to log into the PTR client, though it is recommended.

Copying charactersEdit

In order to do useful testing on the Public Test Realm, QA has given us the ability to copy our own characters or to potentially use premade max-level and well-equipped characters to test on the PTR so we don't have to begin a level 1 character and level it instead of testing. To use premades, you must have updated your account to the latest version of the game at least 6 weeks before the PTR opened!

To actually copy a character, go to the character copy page and follow the instructions. Make sure you are not playing WoW when attempting to copy your character. Make sure you choose a realm that fits your play style, as there are both PvP and PvE test realms.

Copying characters is a one-way operation: You will be copying your character from the real server you play on to the PTR, as it was when you last logged out. What you do on the PTR has no effect on your real character on the live realms. Your PTR character and all of its experience, items, and gold will not be getting transferred back to the live realms, either.

"Premade" character copies may or may not be available, so take a quick look at the stickies on the Test Realm Forums.

There tend to be issues with copying characters due to the immense demand that is placed on the servers handling the copies. If you are seeing errors, please cancel out and try again later. QA is usually aware of problems with the copy servers instantly, so please do not flood the forum with character-copy threads. That being said, the Estimated Queue Time is usually accurate, so simply be patient and wait until the character is copied. As long as the characters status is "pending", the character will be copied.

Downloading and installing the PTREdit

Now that your character is hopefully in the process of getting copied over to the test server that you selected, it's time to download the PTR.

The download process has been updated now to use the Battle.net launcher as well. Updates will all be done automatically by the launcher, so you can always have the most up to date version of the PTR available after having installed it the first time via the "Install" button in the launcher. If you do not already have it, you can install the Battle.net launcher on the downloads page (US, EU; you will need to login) and select "Windows" or "Mac" in order to download the client. Linux users should probably download the Windows version to run via Wine (Please confirm this works).

To locate the PTR install button, open the Battle.net launcher, click on the "World of Warcraft" tab. Then under the REGION/ACCOUNT header Change the game account to your "PTR: [Current/next expansion]" It should be the top one. After that, you simply wait for it to finish the download, and play from there just by swtiching which account you are using.

Updating the PTREdit

Updating the PTR is now done automatically by the Battle.net launcher, you no longer even have to push a button, if you've installed the PTR before all updates will download and install for you when they are released.

Public Test Realm Version NumbersEdit

The public test realm uses a different version numbering system than Live.

All PTR version numbers will begin with zero. This it to prevent the installer mistakenly installing the Data from the PTR over live.

EG

0.2 = 3.2 PTR
0.3.0 = 3.3 PTR
0.3.3 = 3.3.3 PTR
0.3.5 = 3.3.5 PTR

It will also have a build number as well at the end. EG 0.3.5.11993 is PTR 3.3.5 build 11993.

This can also assist you in understanding what each patch updater is going to do.

EG WoW-0.3.3.11685-to-0.3.5.11993-enUS-ptr-patch.exe will update the 3.3.3 PTR to the 3.3.5 PTR

Running the PTREdit

Running the PTR is now as simple as openinig the Battle.net launcher choosing the PTR: [current/next expansion] account under the REGION/ACCOUNT and clicking PLAY

To get back to the PTR, there are a few options:

  • Start the Launcher and click "Public Test" instead of "Play".
  • Use the new "World of Warcraft Public Test" option in the programs menu
  • Get to the "World of Warcraft Public Test" folder and run that copy of WoW. It has a green "T" icon.
  • Go to the "World of Warcraft Public Test" folder and run the Launcher inside that folder

Please note that you must use the password you had when the PTR activated. Your account as a whole must also have been active for at least seven weeks before the PTR was activated, if not since the date specified on the Character Copy page.

If you would like to use the Launcher to access the PTR, but it doesn't show by default, click the "Show Launcher" checkbox in the lower-left corner of the login screen, log in and then exit out of WoW. The Launcher should then show.

If you're getting stuck at "Connecting" or "Handshaking" while attempting to log in, follow the upcoming instructions, remembering to try to log in after completing each step:

  1. Reboot your computer
  2. Follow the instructions at Are you having problems connecting to the game? (US Blizzard support article).
  3. Check your firewall and/or router.
  4. Rename the realmlist.wtf file in your World of Warcraft Public Test folder to something else (like realmlist.wtf.old). (this file would be in the Data folder -> locale folder)
  5. Rename the WTF folder in your World of Warcraft Public Test folder to something else (like WTF.old).
  6. Follow the instructions in the Reinstalling the PTR section.

If you're frequently getting disconnected, follow the instructions at the following US Blizzard support articles: Why do I keep getting disconnected? and Do NPCs and/or players show up as 'Unknown?'.

That's it, good luck, and don't forget to report all of the bugs you find with the /bug tool in-game!

Reinstalling the PTREdit

Quick instructions for a clean reinstall:

  1. You will now have to navigate to the Control Panel on windows machines to uninstall, Follow this link on how to Uninstall from a Mac
  2. On Windows Vista/7/8 machines you will press the "Windows" key, and type "Control Panel" then simply hit Enter (or return if using a Mac keyboard)
  3. There should be a link to an "Uninstall a Program" button somewhere on the page that opens, click it.
  4. You will be presented with a large list of all pregrams currently installed on your machine, if you dont know what certain programs are DO NOT TOUCH THEM, YOU MAY POTENTIALLY STOP IMPORTANT FEATURES FROM WORKING.
  5. You simply want to scroll through the list until you find a program titled "World of Warcraft Public Test".
  6. Click it and press the uninstall/Change button on the top of the window.
  7. Follow any instructions your machine gives you in the proceeding window.
  8. WoW PTR is now uninstalled. Restart your machine to ensure all locked files have a chance to be fully deleted before beginning the reinstall process. (this will ensure you dont have the same issue's running the game that you had before beginning this.
  9. Once you've booted back up, launch the Battle.net launcher again and navigate to the WoW pane
  10. Select your REGION/ACCOUNT and ensure it is set to PTR: [current/next expansion] and click the "install" button, voila!

Uninstalling the PTREdit

If you no longer wish to take part in the Public Test realms you can uninstall the PTR if you wish.

  1. You will now have to navigate to the Control Panel on windows machines to uninstall, Follow this link on how to Uninstall from a Mac
  2. On Windows Vista/7/8 machines you will press the "Windows" key, and type "Control Panel" then simply hit Enter (or return if using a Mac keyboard)
  3. There should be a link to an "Uninstall a Program" button somewhere on the page that opens, click it.
  4. You will be presented with a large list of all pregrams currently installed on your machine, if you dont know what certain programs are DO NOT TOUCH THEM, YOU MAY POTENTIALLY STOP IMPORTANT FEATURES FROM WORKING.
  5. You simply want to scroll through the list until you find a program titled "World of Warcraft Public Test".
  6. Click it and press the uninstall/Change button on the top of the window.
  7. Follow any instructions your machine gives you in the proceeding window.
  8. WoW PTR is now uninstalled. Restart your machine to ensure all locked files have a chance to be fully deleted.

Unsupported platformsEdit

For Linux, see Wine. There's also an AppDB entry for the 2.2.2 PTR. No doubt Cedega and Crossover Office have their own support channels. Blizz does not support WoW on any of these platforms - however they've been known to be co-operative with those prepared to do the legwork to ascertain causes of bugs that are from upstream. Please, if you're going to use an unsupported platform to play WoW, caveat emptor and be prepared to do a lot of your own legwork if things don't go well. Just don't complain to Hortus in the Test Realm Forum, or to the Tech Support Forum, if/when things go wrong. Use your normal support channels for that.

Installing UI modificationsEdit

Players can install UI mods for the PTR client much the same way that they would for the regular client, but with a few caveats:

  • The realm name and often your character name is different. To compensate when copying your addons' settings over, copy from
    • World of Warcraft/WTF/Account/<Your Account>/<Your Realm>/<Your Character> to
    • World of Warcraft Public Test/WTF/Account/<Your Account>/Test Server (US <PVE/PVP>)/<Your Character>
  • The live and PTR addon environment are often very different. Use the most up-to-date beta versions of the mods and please file bug reports with the mod authors so bugs can get fixed.

Courtesy of Icon-armory-18x18 Valyra from Alleria:

  1. Open up two explorer windows, one pointing to your World of Warcraft directory and the other pointing to your World of Warcraft Public Test' directory.
  2. Copy your WTF folder from your World of Warcraft directory to your 'World of Warcraft Public Test directory.
  3. Browse to WTF in 'World of Warcraft Public Test. This is the folder which has your computer-specific settings (seen in config.wtf). You do not have to modify any files in this folder.
  4. Browse to Account/<YourAccountName>. This is the folder which has all of your account-specific settings. You do not have to modify any files in this folder.
    • Rename the <YourServerName> folder to Test Server(US PVE) or Test Server(US PVP).
  5. Browse to the new Test Server(US <PVE/PVP>) folder. This is the folder which has all of your server-specific settings for the server from which you copied your character. There should be no files in this folder.
  6. Rename the <YourLiveCharacterName> folder to <YourPTRCharacterName>. For example, if your name on live is "Valyra" and your name on PTR is "Valyratest", rename the Valyra folder to Valyratest. DO NOT BROWSE TO THIS FOLDER.
  7. Go back to the <YourAccountName> folder and browse to SavedVariables. This is the folder which contains all your account-specific saved variables, such as your UnitFrame and Bar Addon settings.
  8. OPTIONAL: I do this to make things easier on myself but it is by no means necessary. Sort by file type. Delete all files with the .bak file extension. You should now have only files with the .lua file extension.
  9. Sort by file size. Any file larger than 1KB is likely to have information stored regarding character- and/or server-specific settings. Open each file in succession using a text editor (Notepad will do the trick; I recommend TextPad) and do the following:
    • IF YOU DID NOT HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR NAME, SKIP THIS STEP. Open up Find/Replace in your text editor. Enter YourLiveCharacterName in the "To Replace" or "Find" field. Enter YourPTRCharacterName in the "Replace with" field. Do this for every file above 1KB.
    • Open up Find/Replace in your text editor. Enter YourServerName in the "To Replace" or "Find" field. Enter Test Server (US PVE) or Test Server (US PVP) in the "Replace with" field. Do this for every file above 1KB.
  10. Save all the files when done and log in to World of Warcraft Public Test'.

A simpler way to update character/server name in your WTF folder Edit

Courtesy of Anúbereth from Earthen Ring EU:

The above procedure described by Valyria can be accomplished more easily if you have a command line and perl. This is the case for OS X or Windows with cygwin or if you mount your Warcraft folder on a unix box. If you meet these requirements you can simply run the following two commands in your WTF folder to replace your character and server name in all files:

find . -exec perl -pi -e "s/Anúbereth/AnúberethOnTest/g" {} \;
find . -exec perl -pi -e "s/Earthen Ring/Test Server (EU PVP)/g" {} \;

Replace my character/server name with your name/server and you're done.

Another way to update character/server name in your WTF folder Edit

See Migrate WTF script for copying your WTF to the test realm installation.

Common technical problems and fixesEdit

Bluspacecow has quite a good thread with a lot of common technical problems and fixes for the PTR on wowinterface at :

Public Test Realm install guide and common bugs & fixes

Miscellaneous Information Edit

  • The main PTR website can be found Here for US accounts and Here for EU accounts . It includes a link to the Official PTR FAQ, the Download PTR page, PTR/TTR Forums, and the Character Copy page.
  • You can always find a copy of the latest test realm patch notes here and the complete Lua/XML Notes should be found in a sticky in the UI&Macros Forum.
  • When the PTR is officially launched, Gradina or Maaven will do a "PTR Introduction Forum run" as I like to call it. He will post a few stickies about the current PTR, like his FAQ, the Patch notes, and any other needed information.
  • You can view the Tester's guide to the Feedback Tool by Sixen aka Elzix.

See also Edit


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